Tightening the Beltway, the Elite Shop Costco – The Times
Costco, specifically the Pentagon City (the old neighborhood!) location, is becoming a preferred purveyor of D.C. dinner party food these days. Several insiders are quoted on how Costco has replaced through an outfit Ridgewells Catering for their party needs.
Against the backdrop of an unpopular war, rising oil prices and a subprime mortgage crisis, a certain thriftiness seems to have crept into the city’s dining rooms.
“I don’t think anyone would dare serve caviar as a first course today, and instead of filet mignon, there are a lot of other beef dishes,” said Letitia Baldrige, the etiquette writer who was Jacqueline Kennedy’s social secretary. “Embassies don’t have the pocketbooks they used to. And to have these opulent menus for these parties here, it looks bad.”
In that sense, catering by Costco is a style statement, like drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.
“Reverse chic* is a very powerful phenomenon in status-oriented circles,” said David Kamp, the author of “The United States of Arugula” (Broadway, 2006), a book about the American fine-food revolution. “I think Costco is the same thing. It gets discovered.”
Blah, blah, blah.
I don’t think the war has anything to do with it either, but then again I’m not hanging out with the Bradlees much these days. I doubt Manhattan dinner parties are what they used to be either. Costco has quality food too, so no need to make it out like its the Soviet Safeway. Call it a hunch, but most of those catering companies probably have regular visits from the Sysco truck.
*This reminds me that I need to do a write-up about the book Class by Paul Fussell. I also need to return the book to its owner.